AUSTIN (KXAN) — No. 2 Texas survived a late rally by No. 7 Creighton to claim a 72-67 win Thursday at the Moody Center.
Texas guard Marcus Carr hit a pair of clutch foul shots with 10 seconds left, and then Brock Cunningham iced the game with a pair of his own with four seconds left.
Longhorns head coach Chris Beard said the coaching staff spends a lot of time going over free throw routines and calming their heart rates to stay steady at the foul line under pressure.
“That’s what it takes to beat a team like Creighton,” Beard said. “You earn the right to make those free throws, and that’s something we work on all the time.”
Texas turned the ball over just three times, and on a night when they didn’t shoot that well, taking care of the ball ended up being that much more important.
“The difference of the game was our ability to take care of the ball,” Beard said. “We’ve had a few of these games over the years, but nothing like this against a team like Creighton. We couldn’t really turn them over either, and we were fortunate a little bit.”
Leading by as much as 11 points in the second half, the Longhorns withstood a barrage of offense by the Bluejays including sharpshooter Baylor Scheierman suddenly coming to life. Scheierman, a 44% 3-point shooter on the season, started the game 0-for-9 but then scored 11 of his 13 points in the final 3:33 of the ballgame behind a trio of 3-pointers. He hit a long-range shot falling away with 11 seconds left to get the Bluejays within three, 68-65.
Texas held Creighton to 15% shooting from 3-point range and the Longhorns made 31 field goal attempts to the Bluejays’ 27. Texas scored 11 points off eight Bluejays turnovers and had 20 fastbreak points to Creighton’s five.
Creighton head coach Greg McDermott said some of the credit goes to Texas for playing tough defense, saying the Longhorns are “every bit as good” as he thought they’d be, but the Bluejays also missed some open shots.
“Texas puts pressure on you all the time,” McDermott said. “We had open looks some of the time and we just missed them, and sometimes that happens. We’re into shot quality, and we can’t control whether the shot goes in, but we can control how good of shots we get. There were a few times Texas had us locked up, but there were times we just didn’t make open shots.”
Carr had 19 points for the Longhorns to lead the way. Tyrese Hunter chipped in 15 and Timmy Allen had 11. For Creighton, 7-foot-1 center Ryan Kalkbrenner had 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting and 13 rebounds. Scheierman ended with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Texas (6-0) takes on No. 16 Illinois on Dec. 6 in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York. Creighton (6-2) heads back home to take on in-state rival Nebraska on Dec. 4.